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Shetland National Rules

Shetland Rules
2024 Spring Ball

Use Level 1 BASEBALLS Transitioning to level 5 Baseballs. Bats MUST BE USA stamped.

    • The Manager or a Coach MUST have the team roster and the medical release forms for all players at each game.
    • The home team is responsible for setting up the field before each game.
    • The visiting team shall have ten minutes practice field to begin 25 minutes before the game and the home team shall have ten minutes practice starting 15 minutes before game time.
    • Teams will be limited to eleven (11) players.
  • UNIFORM: No team shall make changes to the league issued uniforms. If so, the manager and team will face disciplinary action. A player may buy and wear his own fitted cap as long as it has the same logo as the league issued cap.
    • Base lengths are to be 50 feet.
    • The coach pitching will be 20’ from home plate.
    • An 18-20’ diameter circle will be placed around the pitching mound estimated at 38’ feet.
    • The season shall begin with coach pitch.  At approximately the halfway point of the season, on a date determined by the division director, the coaches shall begin using the Louisville Slugger Blue Flame Pitching Machine.  Machines will be provided by the league, and the coaches will be properly trained on their use
    • While at bat, a team shall have a pitching coach, a first-base coach, a third-base coach and a batting coach (to collect the pass balls and put them into a bucket behind home plate next to the backstop). The batting coach must remain as close to the backstop or in the coaching box behind home plate.
    • A maximum of four (4) defensive coaches are allowed; other coaches must remain in the dugout. Defensive coaches are allowed in the playing field but should try to work your way off of the field by year end. By year end (2nd half of season preferably but use your discretion as each Team is a little different), Defensive coaches should be positioned along the outfield lines so as not to visually impede defensive players or base runners.
    • When the ball is put in play, the pitching coach will often need to duck to become inconspicuous, especially on plays in the infield. Players can neither see over a tall adult, nor should they be required to throw a ball over the pitching coach’s head to the intended target.
    • The coach may at times throw bad pitches by accident. It is up to the pitching coach to call a “NO PITCH” if they feel the batter could not hit the ball due to it being wild. Keep this to a minimum.
    • Players are NOT ALLOWED to pitch to other players.
  • Player Equipment
    • Each player shall be permanently assigned a uniform number at the beginning of the season.
    • The names of the players shall NOT be affixed to the uniform shirt. This is done as a matter of child safety in that strangers will not be able to learn the child's name by reading the uniform shirt.
    • No catchers in Shetland because there is no protective gear.
    • The batting order shall contain the entire roster of players listed in uniform number order.
    • The batting order shall rotate each game. Each kid bats each inning. However, batting order rotation for each game is at Coach's discretion. 
    • After the entire roster has batted.
    • Shetland National base runners may be called out, and thus must return to the dugout if he the player is called out, but the batting will continue for the entire line up regardless of the amount of outs.
    • Shetland American will NOT enforce outs.
    • If 3 outs are recorded, clear the base runners and continue through the rest of the order.
  • REGULATION GAME: Each game will be a MAXIMUM of one (1) hour in length. Game time shall begin from the actual start of a game and not from the scheduled start of the game. At the completion of the time limit the game shall be declared over. There is no limit to the number of innings that can be played in the hour time limit. The goal is 3 to 4 innings.
  • SCOREKEEPING: There will be NO scorekeeping of any kind. Each team will be declared the winner of each game.
  • FIELDERS: Each team will play a maximum of eleven (11) players in the field, as follows:
    • The pitcher shall be positioned next to the pitching coach and not directly in front of the pitcher, with at least one foot in the circle until the ball is hit.
    • Teams are limited to five (5) players in the infield: pitcher, first base, second base, third base and short stop.
    • Teams are limited to five (4) to six (5) players in the outfield: left field, left-center field, right-center field and right field.
    • Outfielders may participate in infield play. But please coach them to throw the ball into the infield.
    • Outfielders must remain at least fifteen (15) feet behind the baseline (or on the outfield grass on most fields) until a ball is put in play.
    • ALL players (including manager/coaches children) shall rotate all positions.
    • Each player shall play at least 2 innings in the infield and 2 innings in the outfield per game.
    • Each batter will be allowed five (5) hittable pitches thrown by the coach.
    • If the ball has not been put into play by the fifth pitch, a batting tee may be placed on home plate and the batter will be allowed to swing until the ball is put into play.
    • No balls and strikes will be called.
    • Bunting is not allowed. A batter must take a full swing.
    • There is a minimum distance that a batted ball must travel in order to be a fair ball, this area will be marked with a 10 foot arc in front of home plate. (Remember, home plate is in fair territory so any batted ball that hits home plate first, is considered a fair ball unless it subsequently rolls untouched into foul territory prior to reaching first base or third base.)
  • STRIKE OUT: There are no strike outs.
  • INFIELD FLY RULE: The infield fly rule does NOT apply.
    • Any player who, after one warning, throws the bat while batting shall be called out.
    • Any player who has been called out twice in one game for this offense shall lose their remaining turns at bat in that game.
    • A play is over once the ball is in complete possession by the pitcher in the 18-20 foot circle (or around the mound as we typically do not have the circle marked) around the pitcher's mound. The player with the ball must have control of it and have both feet in the circle to make the play dead. If the player is juggling the ball, the play is still alive.
    • There will be no advancing on overthrows. NHBA Shetland will continue to go base to base (advancing one base at a time).
    • There will be chalked 5-foot hash marks between 1st and 2nd base, 2nd and 3rd base, and 3rd and Home plate. These hash marks will be the guidelines for base advancements. If a player passes the hash mark in the middle of the base path before the ball has been declared dead in circle around the pitchers mound by the pitcher, that player is allowed to advance to the next base. If the player has not reached the hash mark, they must go back to the previous base.
    • A batted ball that hits the pitching coach, ball bucket or other coach is declared dead. The batter is awarded first base and all other runners advance one (1) base.
    • If at anytime during the game a throw from a defensive player hits the pitching coach, the ball is dead and the runners advance one base.
    • Base runners MUST stay in contact with the base until the ball is hit.
    • Players must touch all bases in order when running.
  • STEALING: No stealing is permitted at any time.
  • FAKE TAGS: There will be no fake tags. A player who makes a fake tag shall be given a warning followed by ejection for a subsequent occurrence.
  • PLAYER EJECTION: Players shall be ejected from the game and receive an additional game suspension for the following conduct:
    • Forearming or tripping runners;
    • Intentionally running into fielders; or
    • Bad sportsmanship, such as taunting or ridiculing other players.
    • If a parent, family member/friend or coach are ejected from a game, that person will not be permitted to attend the following scheduled game and the associated player will also be ineligible to attend. 
    • Any player that is ejected from a game will be subjected to a review of the play by the Division Director, which could include an additional suspension. If a player is ejected from a game for a second time during the same season, that player shall be suspended from the team's next one (1) to three (3) games (including practices) upon review and ruling of the NHBA President and Division Director. If a player is ejected for a third time in the same season, that player is subject to probable suspension for the remainder of the season upon review and ruling of the NHBA Board.   
  • PROTESTS AND FORFEITS: There will be no protests or forfeits.
  • STANDINGS: There shall be NO league standings.
    • There shall be no more than three events per week. Events are games or practices at which a coach and more than three team members are present.
    • There shall be no mandatory events on Sunday. 
  • MANAGERS CODE OF CONDUCT: The Code of Conduct for Managers are a part of these rules. ALL Managers should be familiar with the rules contained in the Code of Conduct.


Newport Harbor Baseball Association (NHBA)
PMB 320 1048 Irvine Avenue 
Newport Beach, California 92660

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